Friday, December 20, 2013

Give yourself a chance, then take it!

This hobby of mine has completely consumed me since 2006. And of all the years, this one has been different. I struggled to find the drive for the better part of the season and it showed. I was fat, tired, and just plain not having fun. It hit rock bottom in July at Brighton where I tipped 200lbs. and had one of the worst races in my life. Not fun. So here is a recap of my season. No pics of bling, just the highs, lows, and what I learned.

I had some early glimmers of success, with my highest finish at BRX with 4th. I took the overall win and age group win on the short edition of Lowell 50, and finished with my best result as an Expert to date at the Stony Marathon with 3rd. But it was not enough... I wasn't having fun, I developed a hip flexor injury, and just felt like poo.

After some soul searching and driving everyone around me nuts asking for advice and crying on shoulders. I finally pulled the plug! Stopped riding... Skipped races (for the first time ever)... Healed up a bit... Cleaned up my diet and refocused.

First stop after making these adjustments was O2S. For the first time this year, I was feeling the fire burning again. I did not know what to expect since I was going from a week off the bike to racing for 48 miles! But I really didn't give a shit! And I was happy. In the end, I finished up making my goal of top 100 and I was happy, and finally feeling good. I was able to stay up in the UP and ride my bike on some of the best trails in the world with no limits, no plans, and no cares! And it was great. This is when I fell in love with my hobby again. The stage was set and I was ready. By this time, I was also losing the weight. So at 22 lbs. lighter I was feeling good.

For the rest of the year I had a re-newed focus, a good plan, and great advice from Jeff and Brad to help me identify and correct training mistakes I made earlier in the year. From here on out, my season took a 360 degree change for the better. When I got back from the UP, I entered the Ruby 50 since it was in my back yard and was looking to get in some longer miles any way. I took 2nd overall, and 1st in my age group. Next stop was the last XC mountain bike race of the season. Tailwind Stony XC. I ended up taking 1st there as well. This was my 1st USAC XC MTB win since moving up to expert! From here, the CX season was ready to begin, and I was not sure what to expect. I was approaching the season a little different. Start out slow, and get a good solid fitness base to work off of. Then finish off strong! In addition, I really wanted to focus on winning the ICEMAN this year. So I decided to focus more on that, and just let the chips fall where they will with the early CX season.

At Ithaca, I rolled a tubular and finished last. Not the start I was hoping for. I then got 4th at Waterford day 1. Better, but not feeling like I had the extra gears to attack. Day 2 - a puncture flat... Really? I continued to put in the hours of training. When I got to Mad Anthony, I didn't realize I was buried from training and shit the bed! DFL! I thought I blew it. My ICEMAN chances were done! My season was done! ugh! But reviewing my HR data told me what I needed to do. Take a break! This is something that was very hard to learn. Learn how to recover properly. So I did. And leading up to ICEMAN I was back on track and finally got a win! Since I finally accomplished my goal that I have been chasing for several years, I was now ready to focus 100% on CX, and I had a boat load of fitness to put into it! I took 3 consecutive wins at Vets Park and Bloomer Day 1 and 2! This was a first for me at any level of CX racing! And I was now in a good position to take a crack at the overall title in Masters 35+. Going into the State Championship race, I was still feeling good and really wanted to come home with a 35-39 State title. An early crash in the race left me chasing the leaders until the end, but I did enough work to fend off anyone that was under 40, and reached another goal.

It was not a perfect season, but I don't know if any truly are. But its the most wins I have ever racked up with 7! And one was huge with ICEMAN. I learned a lot about training, and even more about myself and what I can achieve if I put my mind to it. When I pulled the plug in the summer, I came up with a mantra that I kept telling myself over and over again. "Give yourself a chance, then take it!" This has really helped and is really true for anything you do. If you never give yourself a chance, how will you know what can be accomplished? But you got to take the risk, and take the chance as well in order to see it through.

So that's my season.

1 comment:

BrAdLaKo said...

Nice, proud, stay committed